Yeats History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Yeats came to England with the ancestors of the Yeats family in the Norman Conquest in 1066. The surname Yeats is for a gatekeeper. The name was originally derived from the Old English word geat, meaning gate. It was also sometimes applied to people who lived near a prominent gate. [1]

Early Origins of the Yeats family

The surname Yeats was first found in Gloucestershire where the first entry was an early French form of the name, Hereward de Jette, who was found in the Pipe Rolls of 1198. Years later, Philip del Yate was listed in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1260 and Roger atte Yat was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1268. Again, in Somerset, John atte Yete was listed in the Subsidy Rolls there in 1327. In Norwich, Robert atte Yates was listed in 1344. [2]

Recorded in Somerset, one Edward III (during the first year of King Edward II's reign) we found William atte Yete; Batin atte Yete; and Richard atte Yate. [3]

Yate is a parish in the union of Chipping-Sodbury, Upper division of the hundred of Henbury in the West division of Gloucestershire. [4] This ancient Saxon village was known as Geate in 779 and by the Domesday Book of 1086, it was listed as Giete. [5] As one would expect, it literally means "(place at) the gate or gap," having been derived from the Old English word "geat." [6]

Old Hutton in Westmorland was another family seat. "Hood-Ridding, an ancient mansion, has belonged for more than two centuries to the family of Yates." [4]

Up north in Scotland, "a final s is not uncommon in surnames derived from topographical features, and may be either the plural formation or genitive case ending, but it is not possible to say which from inspection." [7]

"Adam del Yate was juror on an inquisition held at Lochmaben in 1347 and John Yet held a land in Arbroath in 1425." [7]

"The famous family of Yeats, which had formerly been in Dublin, settled in Co. Sligo at the end of the seventeenth century. There are a number of families of Yates and Yeates elsewhere unconnected with them." [8]

The famous Irish poet, William Butler (W.B.) Yeats (1865-1939), was born in the seaside suburb of Sandymount in County Dublin, Ireland. His father, John Butler Yeats (1839-1922), was a descendant of Jervis Yeats, a Williamite soldier, linen merchant, and well-known painter, who passed away in 1712.

Early History of the Yeats family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Yeats research. Another 186 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1575, 1379, 1479, 1607, 1681, 1722, 1582, 1630, 1865, 1939 and are included under the topic Early Yeats History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Yeats Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Yates, Yate, Yeats and others.

Early Notables of the Yeats family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was James Yates ( fl. 1582), English poet who described himself in the dedication of his only known volume as a 'serving man.' He is presumed to have originated...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Yeats Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Yeats family to Ireland

Some of the Yeats family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Yeats migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Yeats or a variant listed above were:

Yeats Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Leonard Yeats, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Leonard Yeats, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [9]
Yeats Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Geo Yeats, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [9]
  • Robert Yeats, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [9]
  • William Yeats, who arrived in Oxford, Maryland in 1747 [9]
Yeats Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Yeats, aged 31, who landed in New York in 1801 [9]
  • John Yeats, who arrived in Tennessee in 1848 [9]
  • William Yeats, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1854 [9]
  • James Yeats, aged 25, who landed in New York in 1854 [9]
  • Charles Yeats, aged 6, who arrived in New York in 1854 [9]

Australia Yeats migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Yeats Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Yeats, a mason, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • George Yeats, his wife and 2 children arrived in Port Adelaide aboard the ship "Apolline" in 1840 [10]
  • George Yeats, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Apolline" in 1840 [10]
  • Mary Yeats, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846 [11]
  • Henry Yeats, aged 39, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Yeats migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Yeats Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Yeats, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Yeats (post 1700) +

  • William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet, dramatist, mystic and public figure, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923
  • Grant David Yeats (1773-1836), American medical writer, born in Florida, the son of David Yeats, a physician of East Florida
  • Ronald Yeats (b. 1937), English football player and captain
  • John Butler Yeats (1870-1957), birth name of Jack B Yeats, the Irish artist and Olympic medalist, brother of W. B. Yeats
  • Matthew Yeats (b. 1979), Canadian hockey goaltender
  • Michael Yeats (b. 1921), Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Anne Yeats (1919-2001), Irish painter, stage designer
  • Elizabet Corbet Yeats (1868-1940), art teacher and publisher
  • Susan Mary Yeats (1866-1949), art teacher, involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement
  • William Yeats Hurlstone (1876-1906), British musical composer and pianist

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Charles Yeats Jr., American Coxswain from Illinois, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [13]


  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  7. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) APOLLINE 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Apolline.gif
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BRUCE 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846LadyBruce.htm
  12. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 29th June 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Trafalgar 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/trafalgar1854.shtml.
  13. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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